I commend Stephen Buxbaum for his reasonable position on restoring the Deschutes estuary. Both he and Mayor Selby are absolutely correct: Capitol Lake dam removal is inevitable.
All legitimate science has shown that the dam is the major cause of poor water quality and a Clean Water Act violation in Budd Inlet. The dam also creates a flooding hazard for downtown Olympia, as we witnessed early December.
Those that wish to retain the dam insist that dredging will correct these issues. The information from the 2014 dredge analysis from the Department of Enterprise Services states that getting permits to maintain dredging for the lake will be difficult, as it is neither cost effective nor a benefit to the environment.
Invasive species exacerbate the cost because the freshwater mud snails require that the sediment be decontaminated.
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Some are concerned about the economic impact for downtown Olympia, and I encourage them to explore the benefits that restoration has generated elsewhere. Both the Nisqually Wildlife Refuge and the Elwha River have seen an incredible surge in visitation since the removal of dikes and dams.
The time is now for the many governments involved to create a path forward to restore the Deschutes estuary. The sooner we act, the better we leave this place for future generations.